What DOT cares about is how you have your load secured. There are minimum straps/chains required per 10 feet of length, and pertinent to the weight of the load the grade of the chain or the number of straps required to safely secure the load.
DOT pulled over one of our drivers last year and gave him a warning. There was no bulkhead on the trailer, and according to this DOT official, "new" regulations required that if there is no bulkhead on the trailer, then an extra strap on his load was required.
When I have a load with pallets, I have to have 2 staps on the front pallets. That's the "new" rule. No bulkhead, more straps or more chains. Plus, if the front portion of your load is - who knows how far away from the bulkhead, we don't have them so I didn't pay attention - feet or inches away from the bulkhead, you have to add extra straps/chains.
So, our trailers have no bulkheads, it's irrelevant if there is a headache rack or not. DOT wants more securement on the load.
I know they do NOT pull over every flatbed with illegally strapped loads because I have seen them on numerous occasions driving past such trucks, but that doesn't change the alleged fact that more securement is required.
There's far too much verbiage in "the book". But I have yet to hear any of them deferring from this particular interpretation. Personally, I don't have a problem with it - I overstrap every load, every time, regardless. I don't normally need chains, but when I do, the same applies.
Flatbedders: Headache Racks REQUIRED?
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I was always instructed that if you were draggin a flat or a step that you needed a headache rack or a bulkhead on the trailer. The company I work for requires that you have a headache rack because they do not have bulkheads on the trailers they offer for us to use. Again I agree it is a safety issue....and should be required - if you are trying to stop the kind of weight that would shift forward a headache rack or bulkhead would only slow it down. In the case of something like pipe or bars it may stop the few that would shift from a bundle.....
Well, I don't see flatbeds that don't have headache racks. Maybe it's out there, but I haven't seen it - though admittedly I'm not really LOOKING for it. I see plenty of flats without bulkheads - ours the same. I want the protection of a rack sitting there to take the abuse of the unthinkable instead of my skull. We have headache racks. I wouldn't haul the stuff we're hauling without either a bulkhead or a rack. Ductile iron pipe is extremely heavy - it's a form of cast iron pipe, though heavier than that, has an asphaltic coating, and is lined with cement. Get one of those or a whole load of those turning into missiles - there you go. Dead, that is, without a rack.
You'll have to read the reg. But I was always told that a header rack was required for any load that might move from the center. Like rebar or lumber.
No requirement would be needed for heavy equipement. You really can't haul the heavy stuff on a flatbed trailer anyway without a drop deck. We (in the Navy Seabee's) always used a single drop 60 ton lowboy and would place the equipment right up against the drop. Then we would block the rear and use chains to secure the equipment. Excavators are easy and you don't even need a dock to load or unload.
I'm with most of you guys and would never pull a flatbed without the protection for the cab.
On the backhoes I used to haul I would put a chain around the bucket hooks in the front. One chain on the mid tie down forward to the front of the trailer. Then one mid tie down towards the back of the trailer. At this point there is tension pulling front and tension pulling back from the midpoint. Then the boom gets a chain looped and chained forward if there is an available hook on the trailer, if not, straight down. Then the digging bucket looped through the teeth and tied rearward.
On the rollers I hauled there were tie downs where I could thread the chain from one side to the other like on the backhoes front and back. Good idea about placing a chain at the pivot point.
One thing I can agree on is, that we can never be too safe.
I have seen backhoes chained like this though:
- One chain across the loading bucket tension down
- Four chains from mid point, that is two pulling front and two pulling rearward
- One chain around the boom/bucket
Where do you store your chains/binders if you don't have a headache rack?
We had a driver who hard-braked and a 60ft steel beem when through the rack and into the cab. Granted, he didn't belly wrap it as he should have, but the rack at least saved his life. I can't say the same for his britches, though.
Anyway, yeah, that's how I've always done it. I know CAT's at least have tiedowns at the corners.
Granted, if you just just run one all the way across in the front and back, that will hold it, but I didn't like doing that.
Guys from I observe, many trucks that do flatbed have headache racks for this purpose and some do not. No if they did not and they were pulling heavy haul, could the DOT bust them and put them out of commission?
My opinion is when I get my CDL, I will never do flats w/o one as they can serve two purposes; life savers and storage for chains and ratchets and chains. Who wouldn't invest in a drivers safety?
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